Online Program

Predictors of support for a sugar-sweetened beverage tax in a Midwestern state

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Laurel Curry, MPH, Center for Health Policy Science and Tobacco Research, RTI International, Washington, DC
Todd Rogers, PhD, Public Health Research Division, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Ghada Homsi, ME, Public Health Policy Research Program, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Carol Schmitt, PhD, Public Health Policy Program, RTI International, Washington, DC
Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are a significant source of calories in the diet of American children and are a major contributor to the childhood obesity epidemic. SSB taxes have the potential to reduce consumption of SSBs and improve health status. Understanding what beliefs contribute to support can assist advocates in developing strategies to maximize policy support.

methods The 2014 Kansas General Public Survey is a representative household survey of 2,209 adults in Kansas. We used weighted logit regression to examine associations between support for an SSB excise tax and perceptions of childhood obesity as a community problem; beliefs about the ubiquity and low cost of unhealthy food; and beliefs about government responsibility for solving obesity, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics.

results Controlling for all other variables in the model, support for a tax on SSBs is 1.87 times higher for those who perceive obesity among children to be a community problem (p<.005), 2.17 times higher among those who believe unhealthy food is inexpensive and easy to find (p<.001); and 1.75 times higher for those who believe that government has a responsibility for solving obesity (p<.05). Men are less likely to support the policy than women (OR=0.70, P<.05). Certain of these effects are moderated by poverty level, geography, gender, race, and age.

Beliefs related to the causes of the obesity problem, responsibility for the solution, and awareness of the problem are associated with support for SSB taxes. These findings suggest opportunities for development of messages to shape beliefs and attitudes that may advance policy support.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe beliefs associated with supporting a sugar-sweetened beverage tax among a Midwestern population

Keyword(s): Obesity, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been on the RTI team contracted to work with a Midwestern foundation on healthy living policy, systems, and environmental change research for three years. One of my scientific interests is how policy change in obesity and tobacco public health policy occurs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.